01 Feb Constance Samuels
Her Story…Constance (Connie) Samuels, CMP, is a manager of meetings and events at the American Feed Industry Association, the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to representing the business, legislative and regulatory interests of the animal feed industry and its suppliers. In this role, she interacts with association members, managing the organization’s programming and high-touch events year-round.Her experience has included work in contract management, event planning and hospitality sales. She worked as a convention sales manager at the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau in Madison, Wisconsin, where she promoted the city as a destination for conventions and meetings; and as a senior sales manager for Marriott Hotels in Austin, Texas. Ms. Samuels is a 2009 magna cum laude graduate from Virginia State University’s School of Agriculture and Human Ecology, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management. At Virginia State, she was actively involved in VSU’s Honors Program, Hospitality Management Student Association, Agriculture Student Council, and served as Miss Virginia State 2008-09. In 2017, she obtained her certified meeting professional designation solidifying her knowledge in planning, logistics and event management. Samuels is currently working toward her MBA at Virginia Tech.She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and the Professional Convention Management Association. Samuels currently lives in the Washington, D.C., metro area, and enjoys traveling to new destinations, both domestic and international, bowling and attending live music concerts and festivals whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Check out our interview with this #CareerPro below…
BossUpGIRL! Co.: What do you like most about what you do? What do you like the least?
#CareerPro:I truly enjoy the relationships that are cultivated through my everyday interactions. I love the ability to connect with others under some commonality through each of our life experiences. I also like the adrenaline of being onsite at an event. Naturally, I am a busy-body—and running around and getting things done allows me to be in my element. Lastly, I love when my job takes me to a city that I haven’t traveled to before. I usually use add a day or so on the front-end or back-end of the event to explore the city by myself. The thing that I enjoy the least about my job is that sometimes the hours can be long and exhausting. However, the reward of those long hours and hard work is the accomplishment of a successful event, and the positive feedback received from stakeholders and attendees.
BossUpGIRL! Co.: #Relationship Goals – As a busy business professional do you find it difficult to have or maintain a relationship?
#CareerPro:As a busy business professional, I actually don’t find it difficult to maintain relationships. I’ve moved around so much both as a child and as an adult, that maintaining relationships has become a part of my norm. I prioritize the people in my life because those relationships are important to me. And as the old saying goes, “you make time for what is important to you.”Conversely, within my professional career, I try to stay in touch with old colleagues and clients as well. Cultivating those relationships always come full-circle. And because the hospitality/event world is so small—it is so much easier to reach out to someone you trust for feedback or opinions on something. Besides, you do business with the people that you like!
BossUpGIRL! Co.: What is your glass ceiling or ultimate career goal?
#CareerPro:Head of an events department or team as a VP or Chief Engagement Officer.
BossUpGIRL! Co.: In addition to our physical health, maintaining our mental health is also very important to success, how do you create a work/life balance and what do you do for “me” time or to relax?
#CareerPro:I have to schedule time on my calendar for personal just like I would do with anything else. In my current role, it is very easy to burn-out and stress yourself out. So, I love having a day where I unplug, I turn off my email, and do something nice for myself—whether it be a massage, a mani-pedi in the middle of the day, or laying on the couch and taking consecutive naps. Whatever is on the agenda, I deem it as “Connie’s Day”, and I give myself the opportunity to do what I want, when I want. Or better yet—do nothing at all.
#CONNIE TIPS & ADVICE:
BossUpGIRL! Co.: What Interview tips would you give to new professionals entering the workforce to help them land their ideal job?
Don’t be shy on reaching out and trying to connect with someone at your target company. Through informational interviews that you initiate you will gain insight that may not be shared through the formal hiring process. Also, in doing your research of a company, look at their leadership makeup. This often times will be foretelling in their inclusiveness, and your potential growth within that company. And always, ALWAYS send a written thank-you note to your interviewer. Depending on the timeline of the hiring process, it is appropriate to send a follow-up email the same day after the interview to ensure they receive it in a timely manner. In most cases you should do both an email and a written note.
BossUpGIRL! Co.: What advice would you give to those looking to climb the corporate ladder or take their career to the next level?
#CareerPro:There are a few things:1) Be flexible—sometimes it’s great to get your foot in the door of a company and be open to new opportunities. Half the battle of growing in your strengths is stepping outside of your comfort zone.2) Move to a new city—the best decision I made was moving to Austin, TX right after my college graduation. I didn’t know anyone and I haven’t looked back since. I would highly encourage professionals to move to a new city at least once in their careers. You not only learn so much about yourself, and gain independence that is unfounded in your familiarity. You expand your network exponentially if you take advantage of the resources and playground that your new-found city can offer you. Every person I’ve met since, and every move in my career from moment I can attribute to that first step of booking a one-way ticket to Texas at 22 years old. 3) And last but not least, be patient with yourself, everything happens in due time. There are so many added pressures to have it all together and get that title or make that certain dollar amount—and when it’s not within our own timelines, we may get frustrated. Always remember to keep pushing through those frustrating times because in the end you will end up exactly where you are meant to be—on top of your game!
BossUpGIRL! Co.: What tips would you give business professionals to avoid burnout and stay motivated?
Unplug. As much as we may think the world will fall apart if we don’t check our email—it won’t. There is something said for turning off both your professional and personal email. Another way to avoid burnout and stay motivated would be to change your scenery for a day or two. Go on a quick getaway to clear your mind. It doesn’t have to be somewhere extravagant. It could be a staycation at a hotel for one night or visiting the park. Changing your surroundings can bring clarity that sometimes your home or office will never be able to.
#BonusTip: Provide any tip or advice that would be beneficial to your fellow career professional
Keep learning and always be the student. There is so much to gain from other’s experiences. Don’t be afraid to ask seasoned professionals how they got where they are. In these conversations, you will learn so much more than you would in trying to figure it all out by yourself.
Thanks Connie for sharing your story with our #BossUpGIRL community! We are always so inspired by Millennial Women who go boldly after their goals and dreams. Today we celebrate you 🙂
~ Love, Jasmine, Tyra & the entire #BossUpGIRL Squad!